Ranveer Singh in a still from the film Gully Boy.
Ranveer Singh in a still from the film Gully Boy.

Obsessing about Ranveer Singh’s Gully Boy? Watch these five essential hip-hop films/series next

Now that Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Zoya Akhtar have introduced you to ‘asli hip-hop’, here are five series/films about rap music that you should watch next.
By Rohan Naahar | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 16, 2019 08:24 AM IST

“The thing about hip-hop today is it’s smart, it’s insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable.” Barack Obama said that. That ought to be worth something.

To some, it might seem as if Obama is simply stating the obvious. Of course, rap music is intelligent. We’ve heard Eminem rhyme about his daughters and Nas rap about his hood. But we’ve also heard Macklemore drawl about thrift shops and Badshah ‘rap’ about chinchillas. It’s a diverse genre, one that has transcended borders with universal themes of oppression and rebellion.

Words like ‘smart’, ‘insightful’ and ‘complex’ can be used to describe Gully Boy, the movie of the moment. Not only is it driven by music that isn’t Indian, it is directed by someone who has always made her preference for European cinema well known. And yet, it tells a story that is totally rooted in India - a section of India, in fact, that Zoya Akhtar has never set foot in, at least on film.

The challenges she faced are nothing to scoff at. In a country whose only real exposure to rap music is the popular stuff heard in Bollywood movies - keep in mind, Gully Boy is a Bollywood film - to introduce a whole new style of hip-hop, ‘asli hip-hop’, isn’t easy.

And yet, Gully Boy has been received with warmth. It was expected to do well, but its phenomenal box office opening suggests that it will play like a ‘90s Khan-driven musical romance. By the end of this weekend, many of you would have seen it. And it is perfectly fine for a lot of you to be curious - about a grimy new world, previously untouched by the gloss of Bollywood.

So after Gully Boy, here are five documentaries every rap music fan must watch:

The Defiant Ones

The Defiant Ones, on Netflix, traces the history of the genre through the eyes of some of its biggest advocates, particularly pioneers Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre, who did more to take rap music global than perhaps anyone else. You might also want to check out Rapture and Hip-Hop Evolution, two similarly themed series, also on Netflix.

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap

Something From Nothing is a wonderful exploration about the techniques of rap music, and host Ice-T stages the coup to beat all coups by assembling the best rappers in the world - Ice Cube, Nas, Eminem - to talk about their craft in refreshingly passionate detail. But perhaps its most unexpected achievement is reminding audiences that once upon a time, Kanye West was talented.

Biggie & Tupac

Like director Nick Broomfield’s other music documentary - a salacious account of rockstar Kurt Cobain’s suicide which suggested that his widow, Courtney Love might have been involved in his death - Biggie & Tupac is a mostly sensational account of the biggest rivalry the rap industry has ever been seen. But beneath its blingy exterior, there lies a tale about a broken friendship, the corruption of art, and the tragic death of two of the brightest talents in rap music - The Notorious BIG and Tupac Shakur. You might also want to check out Tupac: Resurrection, the Oscar-nominated film which allows the late rapper to tell his own story.

Nas: Time is Illmatic

East Coast rapper Nas’ 1994 album, Illmatic, is often considered to be among the finest rap records ever produced. The documentary offers an inside look into Nas’ life, his childhood growing up in New York, and how it influenced his music, which went on to define the East Coast sound. It is among the rare movies to have a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

There’s a lot going on in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. It’s essentially a concert film (directed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s Michel Gondry of all people), but it’s so much more than just a rap movie. It’s a celebration of a vibe - Boho Brooklyn at nighttime, populated by singers and songwriters and artists, all coming together as one - and it’s also a comedy, released immediately after Chappelle’s abrupt announcement that he was walking away from a $50 million deal to continue his show. Fair warning: might contain Kanye.

Follow @htshowbiz for more
The author tweets @RohanNaahar

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Hrithik Roshan was previously married to Sussanne Khan.
Hrithik Roshan was previously married to Sussanne Khan.

When Hrithik Roshan said he could not think of getting married again

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 07:09 PM IST
  • Hrithik Roshan, in an interview in 2017, said that he was at a good place in his life and was not thinking about getting married again. He was previously married to Sussanne Khan.
Close
Parineeti Chopra stars in the recently-released Netflix film The Girl on the Train.
Parineeti Chopra stars in the recently-released Netflix film The Girl on the Train.

Parineeti says she has ‘never been on a date’, reveals her first kiss was at 18

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:33 PM IST
  • Parineeti Chopra reminisced about many of her firsts in a new video for Netflix India. Watch it here.
Close
Bipasha Basu has shared new pictures and videos from the Maldives.
Bipasha Basu has shared new pictures and videos from the Maldives.

Bipasha is true 'poser' as she soaks up the sun in a swimsuit on Maldives vacay

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:33 PM IST
  • Bipasha Basu and her husband, Karan Singh Grover, have been keeping their fans updated with their adventures in the Maldives. See their pictures here.
Close
Eeb Allay Ooo! is set in the heart of Delhi.
Eeb Allay Ooo! is set in the heart of Delhi.

Eeb Allay Ooo maker Prateek Vats: We could bring desh ki baat through characters

PTI
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:07 PM IST
Eeb Allay Ooo! maker Prateek Vats talks about his critically acclaimed film which released on Netflix recently. The film is a satire set in New Delhi.
Close
Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar tied the knot in 2018.
Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar tied the knot in 2018.

Milind Soman cuddles up with Ankita on 7th anniversary of their relationship

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 05:39 PM IST
  • Milind Soman and his wife, Ankita Konwar, took to Instagram on Saturday to celebrate seven years of their relationship. See the pictures here.
Close
Mira Rajput has shared a couple of pictures from her trip to Amalfi with Shahid Kapoor, soon after they got married.
Mira Rajput has shared a couple of pictures from her trip to Amalfi with Shahid Kapoor, soon after they got married.

Mira Rajput misses her trip to Amalfi when 'little bella' Misha was in her tummy

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 05:41 PM IST
Mira Rajput is missing her beautiful trip to Amalfi Coast with husband Shahid Kapoor in 2015. She added that she was pregnant with Misha when they took the trip.
Close
Priyanka Chopra won the Miss World crown in 2000.
Priyanka Chopra won the Miss World crown in 2000.

Priyanka Chopra reminisces about winning Miss India, advises new contestants

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 05:15 PM IST
  • Actor Priyanka Chopra on Saturday passed on her best wishes to the current Miss India contestants, and reminisced about winning the crown two decades ago.
Close
Ranvir Shorey has fractured his leg.
Ranvir Shorey has fractured his leg.

Ranvir answers if he fractured leg while 'dancing’ after testing Covid-negative

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:46 PM IST
  • Ranvir Shorey was asked by a fan if his leg fracture was caused by too much happy dancing after recovering from Covid-19. See his reply here.
Close
Sonam Kapoor and her mother-in-law Priya Ahuja share a sweet bond.
Sonam Kapoor and her mother-in-law Priya Ahuja share a sweet bond.

Sonam Kapoor introduces fans to mum-in-law, they say she looks beautiful

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:46 PM IST
Sonam Kapoor took to Instagram to share a bunch of pictures with her mother-in-law, Priya Ahuja. See them here.
Close
Shilpa Shetty shared new pictures from Maldives.
Shilpa Shetty shared new pictures from Maldives.

Shilpa Shetty is every bit a diva as she poses by the blue sea in Maldives

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:43 PM IST
  • Shilpa Shetty, who is currently vacationing in Maldives, shared another stunning picture of herself. See it here.
Close
Actors Sara Ali Khan and Taapsee Pannu share that one pre-Covid ritual they can’t follow now.
Actors Sara Ali Khan and Taapsee Pannu share that one pre-Covid ritual they can’t follow now.

Covid effect on pre-shoot rituals for actors? Sara Ali Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Anil Kapoor spill the beans

By Rishabh Suri
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:34 PM IST
Actors such as Taapsee Pannu, Sara Ali Khan and Aparshakti Khurana tell us their one pre-Covid ritual which has been impacted in the current scenario.
Close
Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia Deshmukh have been married for nine years.
Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia Deshmukh have been married for nine years.

Genelia D’Souza initially thought Riteish Deshmukh was a 'rich brat'

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:02 PM IST
Genelia D’Souza, who first met Riteish Deshmukh during the making of their first film Tujhe Meri Kasam, did not talk to him initially as she thought he was a 'brat'.
Close
Kartik Aaryan has shared a Game of Thrones-inspired video from Manali.
Kartik Aaryan has shared a Game of Thrones-inspired video from Manali.

Kartik Aaryan imagines himself as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, shares video

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:15 PM IST
  • Kartik Aaryan has recreated a Game of Thrones scene in Manali, originally featuring Kit Harrington as Jon Snow.
Close
Kumud Mishra while shooting for ‘Mission Majnu’ in Lucknow. (Photo courtesy: Sharib Hashmi)
Kumud Mishra while shooting for ‘Mission Majnu’ in Lucknow. (Photo courtesy: Sharib Hashmi)

Kumud Mishra: It feels good that makers are showing faith in me

By Deep Saxena
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:08 PM IST
Shooting in Lucknow yet again for the film ‘Mission Majnu’, veteran actor Kumud Mishra sees a welcome change around
Close
The teaser of Gangubai Kathiawadi was shared on Sanjay Leela Bhansali's birthday.
The teaser of Gangubai Kathiawadi was shared on Sanjay Leela Bhansali's birthday.

Alia Bhatt shares Gangubai Kathiawadi scenes recreated by fans: 'Too good'

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:27 PM IST
  • Alia Bhatt shared a number of fan-made videos, where they have recreated some scenes and dialogues from the teaser of Gangubai Kathiawadi.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP